Contrite killer gets 30 years

2008-03-06 00:00

A high court judge in Pietermaritzburg yesterday imposed an effective sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment on a young man whose conscience over the murders of three people — including a baby — at Bergville in 2006, drove him to confess to the police last year.

Jikani Elias Nzimande (20) pleaded guilty and said he decided on August 7, 2006 to kill Mankanaza Shoba, the patriarch of the Shoba clan, because he believed Shoba had been practising witchcraft against his family, causing the deaths of four people.

Nzimande said he went to the Shoba homestead armed with two pistols and fired indiscriminately into the kitchen where the family were gathered.

He fired at some people who emerged from another building and fled when he ran out of ammunition.

Mankanaza was not killed, but Nomvalelisi Shoba (71), Fakazile Shoba (37) and eight-month-old Siphosenkosi Shoba were. Two other family members were injured.

He said police did not arrest anyone, but his conscience troubled him and he handed himself over to police on March 9 last year.

Judge Kate Pillay said she believed Nzimande’s crimes were motivated more by a desire for vengeance than by a belief in witchcraft, but she said his age and remorsefulness were extentuating factors allowing her to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life for murder.

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